Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 12
Confronting his own party-led government in Punjab, Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa today raised the issue of rampant illegal mining in Pathankot area in the state.
In a letter to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, the former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Chief said a large-scale illegal mining was being done in connivance with the district and police officials and some political leaders.
Flagging the issue, Bajwa, who is a former MP from Gurdaspur, said a large-scale illegal mining had created deep ravines in the Chakki river ranging up to 100 ft downside from the edge of the railway bridge which poses a threat to the road bridge connecting Pathankot district of Punjab with Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
Despite stringent strictures passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Gurbir Singh Panu versus state of Punjab and others case (dated April,2013) against Punjab government officials for allowing rampant illegal mining and not catching the masterminds, around 4,285 FIRs for unauthorised mining from March 2017 to 2018 have been lodged. This showcases failure on the part of the police and district administration in ensuring a complete check on illegal excavation of minor minerals, also causing huge losses to the state ex chequer.
He said, “Particularly in Pathankot till July 2019, as many as 220 crushers were used in the menace. In a bid to curb this illegal practice, the Punjab Mining and Geology Department conducted an e-auction for the Pathankot cluster and received total bids worth Rs 62.81 crore”.
Citing media reports, Bajwa said one Sub-Inspector Lakhveer has also confirmed after investigation that the stone-crushing activity undertaken at the impugned site was illegal. Mining was also being done in the forest area of the district, reflecting the involvement of forest officials as well, said the MP, while seeking immediate and strict action against the guilty persons after initiating an investigation into the same at the earliest.
Illegal mining is also being done in the forest area of the district, pointing out the role of forest officials as well. — Partap Bajwa, Cong MP
Staff at grocery stores to be checked too